48 of Prince Philip's greatest gaffes and funny moments

Helena Horton

The Duke of Edinburgh will today meet Royal Marines who have completed a mammoth 1,664 mile charity trek  - his final official Royal event before he retires from public engagements.

In the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the 96-year-old Duke will celebrate the achievements of servicemen who have taken part in the 1664 Global Challenge, a series of strength and endurance feats raising funds and awareness for the Royal Marines Charity.

The Duke of Edinburgh Credit: Indigo/Getty Images

Prince Philip has completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952 - but not all of them have gone to plan.

The gaffe-prone Duke, who has never been afraid to speak his mind, has made headlines over the years with a series of one-liners, insults, and frank remarks about people who have got on his nerves. Many of them resulted in a substantial amount of outrage - but lots of them made the world laugh.

Here's a reminder of his best gaffes. 

1 - "British women can't cook" (in Britain in 1966).

The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Anne preparing a barbecue on the Estate at Balmoral Castle in 1972 Credit: Lichfield/Getty Images

2 - "What do you gargle with, pebbles?" (speaking to singer Tom Jones after the 1969 Royal Variety Performance).

3 - "I declare this thing open, whatever it is." (on a visit to Canada in 1969).

Prince Philip shares a joke with Tom Jones in 1969 Credit: S&G/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS

4 -"Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed" (during the 1981 recession).

5 - "If it has got four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane, and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it." (at a 1986 World Wildlife Fund meeting).

The Duke of Edinburgh during a tour of Canada in 1969 Credit: Boris Spremo/Toronto Star via Getty Images

6 - "It looks like a tart's bedroom." (on seeing plans for the Duke and Duchess of York's house at Sunninghill Park in 1988)

7 - "Yak, yak, yak; come on get a move on." (shouted from the deck of Britannia in Belize in 1994 to the Queen who was chatting to her hosts on the quayside).

Queen Elizabeth II stands with Colville Norbert Young and her husband Prince Philip during a visit to Belize  Credit: AP

8 - "We didn't have counsellors rushing around every time somebody let off a gun, asking 'Are you all right? Are you sure you don't have a ghastly problem?' You just got on with it." (about the Second World War commenting on modern stress counselling for servicemen in 1995).

9 - "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?" (to a driving instructor in Oban, Scotland, during a 1995 walkabout).

10 - "If a cricketer, for instance, suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat, which he could do very easily, I mean, are you going to ban cricket bats?" (in 1996, amid calls to ban firearms after the Dunblane shooting).

11 - "Bloody silly fool!" (in 1997, referring to a Cambridge University car park attendant who did not recognise him).

12 - "It looks as if it was put in by an Indian." (pointing at an old-fashioned fusebox in a factory near Edinburgh in 1999).

The Duke of Edinburgh tries the facilities at the Royal National Institute for Deaf People during a visit in 1998 Credit: PA

13 - "Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf." (to young deaf people in Cardiff, in 1999, referring to a school's steel band).

14 - "They must be out of their minds." (in the Solomon Islands, in 1982, when he was told that the annual population growth was 5%).

15 - "You are a woman, aren't you?"(In Kenya, in 1984, after accepting a small gift from a local woman).

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visit the Great Wall of China near Peking  Credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images

16 - "If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed." (to British students in China, during the 1986 state visit).

17 - "Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species in the world." (in Thailand, in 1991, after accepting a conservation award).

Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh a visit to Australia in 2011 Credit: Mechielsen Lyndon-Pool/Getty Images

18 - "Oh no, I might catch some ghastly disease." (in Australia, in 1992, when asked to stroke a Koala bear).

19 - "You can't have been here that long - you haven't got a pot belly." (to a Briton in Budapest, Hungary, in 1993).

20 - "Aren't most of you descended from pirates?" (to a wealthy islander in the Cayman Islands in 1994).

Queen Elizabeth ll and the Duke of Edinburgh during an official tour of Papua New Guinea  Credit: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

21 - "You managed not to get eaten, then?" (suggesting to a student in 1998 who had been trekking in Papua New Guinea that tribes there were still cannibals).

22 - In Germany, in 1997, he welcomed German Chancellor Helmut Kohl at a trade fair as "Reichskanzler" - the last German leader who used the title was Adolf Hitler.

The Duke of Edinburgh wth Helmut Kohl in 1996 Credit: Hans Edinger/AP

23- "You're too fat to be an astronaut." (to 13-year-old Andrew Adams who told Philip he wanted to go into space. Salford, 2001).

24 - "I wish he'd turn the microphone off." (muttered at the Royal Variety Performance as he watched Sir Elton John perform, 2001).

Elton John performing in 2001 Credit: AP

25 - "Do you still throw spears at each other?" (In Australia in 2002 talking to a successful aborigine entrepreneur).

26 - "You look like a suicide bomber." (to a young female officer wearing a bullet-proof vest on Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, in 2002).

27 - "Do you know they're now producing eating dogs for anorexics?" (to a blind woman outside Exeter Cathedral, 2002)

28 - "Well, you didn't design your beard too well, did you?" (to designer Stephen Judge about his tiny goatee beard in July 2009).

29 - "There's a lot of your family in tonight." (after looking at the name badge of businessman Atul Patel at a Palace reception for British Indians in October 2009).

30 - "Do you work it a strip club?" (to 24-year-old Barnstaple Sea Cadet Elizabeth Rendle when she told him she also worked in a nightclub in March 2010).

31 - "Do you have a pair of knickers made out of this?" (pointing to some tartan to Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie a papal reception in Edinburgh in September 2010).

32 - "Bits are beginning to drop off." (on approaching his 90th birthday, 2011)

David Miller on his mobility scooter Credit: Eddie Mulholland for the Telegraph

33 - "How many people have you knocked over this morning on that thing?" (meeting disabled David Miller who drives a mobility scooter at the Valentine Mansion in Redbridge in March 2012)

34 - "I would get arrested if I unzipped that dress." (to 25-year-old council worker Hannah Jackson, who was wearing a dress with a zip running the length of its front, on a Jubilee visit to Bromley, Kent, in May 2012)

35 - "The Philippines must be half empty as you're all here running the NHS." (on meeting a Filipino nurse at a Luton hospital in February 2013)

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh during a visit to Mars Chocolate UK in Slough Credit: AFP

36 - "Most stripping is done by hand." (to 83-year-old Mars factory worker Audrey Cook when discussing how she used to strip or cut Mars Bars by hand in April 2013)

37 - "(Children) go to school because their parents don't want them in the house." (prompting giggles from Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban after campaigning for the right of girls to go to school without fear - October 2013)

Malala Yousafzai reacts to a comment made by the Duke of Edinburgh, as he greets her father Ziauddin, during a Reception for Youth, Education and the Commonwealth at Buckingham Palace in 2013 Credit: Yui Mok/PA

38 - "Just take the f***ing picture." (losing patience with an RAF photographer at events to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain - July 2015)

39 - "You look starved." (to a pensioner on a visit to the Charterhouse almshouse for elderly men - February 2017)

40 - "I'm just a bloody amoeba." (on the Queen's decision that their children should be called Windsor, not Mountbatten).

41 - "Gentlemen, I think it is time we pulled our fingers out."(to the Industrial Co-Partnership Association on Britain's inefficient industries in 1961).

42 - "Are you asking me if the Queen is going to die?" (on being questioned on when the Prince of Wales would succeed to the throne)

The Duke of Edinburgh with Princess Anne during a Britannia Challenge Cup race at Cowes Credit: Kate Mason for the Telegraph

43 - "If the man had succeeded in abducting Anne, she would have given him a hell of a time while in captivity." (On a gunman who tried to kidnap the Princess Royal in 1974).

44 - "I hope he breaks his bloody neck." (when a photographer covering a royal visit to India fell out of a tree)

45 - "If it doesn't fart or eat hay, she's not interested." (on the Princess Royal)

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh  pose on the Queen's Coronation day Credit: AFP

46 - "When a man opens a car door for his wife, it's either a new car or a new wife." (on marriage).

47 - "It's a pleasant change to be in a country that isn't ruled by its people." (to Alfredo Stroessner, the Paraguayan dictator).

48 - "Where did you get that hat?" (supposedly to Queen at her Coronation).

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